2017 review

Both GBOMP and SADOS were very active during 2017. Many new boxes were put up and
a record number of boxes were monitored for breeding activity. The figures below show the highest recorded totals of young ringed and young fledged. Whether this represents a
particularly good year or not is unclear as more effort was put into monitoring than has been the case previously.
The main monitoring period this year ran from the second week of June to mid-August. The biggest broods of the year were the later broods with two broods of five being ringed on the 10th August. There was some evidence to suggest that early breeding had occurred at one site, and young had fledged by late June which would have meant first eggs being laid in late March. Another possible brood was reported in September. This would suggest that we probably need to start monitoring earlier, and possibly check some boxes for a second or late brood.

125 sites checked.
30 definite breeding attempts.
1 attempt failed.
25 broods ringed.
4 broods successfully fledged young unringed.
84 birds fledged of which 75 were ringed.
Mean brood size = 2.8.


An introduction to SADOS

SADOS (Southam and District Owl Society) was formed in 2015 by founder Rich Harris and fellow supporter Paul Watkins. Both live in the village of Southam (just north of Cheltenham) and they came together as they both shared a love of raptors and especially Owls.
Rich brought a lot of experience as he hails from the Somerset area and had been instrumental there in taking Barn Owls from as few as one breeding pair in 1995 to a total of 21 breeding pairs fifteen years (and 160 boxes) later!
He gained a lot of experience and knowledge during this period and he has now taken on North Gloucestershire as his next challenge.
Fellow enthusiast, Paul Watkins, comes from a different background but can boast over 40 years of birding experience throughout Europe and beyond plus a fascination with bird and wildlife photography. His business background has helped in providing data collection and spreadsheets for the group.
The group now boasts a further six volunteers who have also bought additional skills to the party, especially in the box building/construction and installation part of the group’s activities.
During the past 2/3 years they have been instrumental in putting up and monitoring over 100 Tawny Owl boxes, over 80 Barn Owl boxes, over 30 Little Owl boxes and more recently over 25 Kestrel boxes. They have seen some incredible results in such a very short time with all four species and have seen new boxes taken up and increased breeding success way beyond original estimates.
They have worked successfully with the GRMG (Glos Raptors Monitoring Group) and GWT(Glos Wildlife Trust) and have also had the kind and generous support from GNS (Glos Naturalists Society) who have helped with several grants for materials.They have also worked closely with the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) as well as The County Recorder.
Without a doubt, they would not have been able to operate so effectively without some amazing help from other sponsors including a local pallet company who have kindly donated materials for box building and of course it would be imprudent not to mention their amazing band of volunteers.
If you think you might be interested to help or have information of barn owl(or any owl!!) activity in your area please contact Rich or Paul on the following e-mail contacts addresses. Similarly, if you know of any landowners or farmers who need help/advice re Barn Owl (or other raptors) activity or breeding please contact:-
Paul Watkins : watters5005@gmail.com

Barn Owls – 2016 summary

Most of the sites on our existing register were visited at least once this year. Most of the boxes were put up for Barn Owls, but a number are used each year by: Tawny Owl, Kestrel, Jackdaw, Stock Dove, and one Mandarin has used a box. Twenty nine chicks were ringed from 8 nests, of which 28 fledged. One adult from last year was re- trapped at the box in which she was ringed. Some statistics of this year’s activity:

78 boxes at 47 sites were monitored during 2016.
17 Active nests were recorded.
8 nests where chicks were ringed.
2 nests where breeding was unsuccessful.
3 nests where breeding was confirmed, but chicks not ringed.
3 nests were adults were present during breeding season but no breeding.
1 site where adults present, not in a box, and egg shells found late in season.
3 sites where adults present during breeding season, but no breeding attempt.
9 sites visited where breeding has occurred in past, but no evidence this year.
3 Anecdotal records of birds present during breeding season, yet to be followed up.
3 sites where breeding has occurred in previous years, not checked, change of land use and permissions.
5 sites not associated with any above where pellets were found.
2 broods known to have been ringed in Glos.

This gives potentially 35 breeding sites that are known to the programme.

Barn Owls with Colin Shawyer – tickets available

We are delighted to offer a talk this winter by a speaker who is a nationally recognised authority on Barn Owls. This is a ticket-only event; tickets are available at £5 each from the link below. There will be tea/coffee and biscuits and a chance to chat.

Barn Owls, with Colin Shawyer, 7.30 Wednesday 25th January, Ribston Hall School, Stroud Road, Gloucester, GL1 5LE.

downloadColin is a raptor biologist and professional ecologist specialising in birds, mainly birds of prey and has published widely on this subject. He was Director of the Hawk and Owl Trust between 1988 and 1998. He undertook work for the BTO between 2000 and 2010 developing and implementing its Barn Owl Monitoring Programme and in 1988 founded the Barn Owl Conservation Network (BOCN); he is BOCN Coordinator for UK and Ireland. He oversees and undertakes extensive Barn Owl nest monitoring every season.

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2015 summary and 2016 plans

An update on GBOMP’s progress in 2015 and plans for 2016, from Mervyn Greening.

Summary of activity in 2015:

10 monitoring visits by MG. Others by AL,AF and BHB, confirmed that 2015 was a poor breeding season in Glos. As a result not all boxes on register were visited, but contacts at all sites reported little or no activity.

16 Site visits were made to put boxes up or advise on positioning of boxes.

3 Broods of barn owls ringed and one other where young were known to have hatched failed before ringing.

16 New boxes put up.

7 current active members of the group made visits to Barn Owl sites this year.

5 new recruits have shown interest in monitoring and ringing chicks, so will hopefully join the monitoring program in 2016.

Plans for 2016:

Run training course for new monitors. In Conjunction with Windrush Valley.

project. Also train new ringers.

Monitor all boxes on register.

Modify some of boxes in CWP to make access easier for monitoring.

Maintain visits to sites following requests for information and advice, and to erect boxes.

Anyone interested in joining in with the group’s activities, should contact us through the web site.

GBOMP’s recent activity

Tuesday 29/09/2015

Site visit 15 with MG,DA,RH, and PW to put a box up in a barn where RH had found pellets. Adult was present when we arrived. New box installed.


Monitoring visit 10 MG,AF,AL,DA,RH,PW to Sherbourne estate. Ringed brood of Barn Owl Chicks from box in barn at top site.


Thursday 17th December 2015

Site visit 16 with MG and VJ of Barn Owl centre. Site at Calmsden outside Cirencester to advise landowner on positioning of boxes. Adult Barn Owl present in one barn with lots of pellets. Other sites identified. Manager of site is constructing boxes to put up. Have since had email with photos showing the new boxes in position. Whilst on site saw Short-eared owl.

Tuesday 9th February 2016

Site visit 1 of 2016. MG,RH,PW. To a farm near Hawling to put up a new box in second barn near to another barn with a box in already with adult present and lots of pellets. Buzzards and 2 Red Kites seen on this visit.